This is the debate that has been ongoing since the beginning of the existence of Sim Racing. Is it better to invest in a track car or a really good simulator? We will look into the reality of owning a track car and discuss what really is the better investment. We are not going to say owning a simulator is way better than a track car. We think a track car is great and something to desire but we want a realistic expectation.

Let’s start off with a budget. The biggest argument for most is that for the amount of money spent on the simulator, they would rather spend it on a track toy for the weekend. For a track car, the budget spectrum is as wide as it could get. You could start off with a $1000 beater or go all the way to the exclusive track toys that goes for millions. On the simulator side, you could realistically get a very high end set for around $30,000. So let’s use $30,0000 as the starting budget for our track car as well.

30k might seems like a lot to spend on pieces of electronics and computers. But It is not a lot of money when you compare it with an actual car. You are most likely looking into a used basic sports car like the MX5 Miata or Toyota 86 at this budget range, which both are respectable and fun. Ok now we got our track car. Let’s go to a track day! How often do you realistically think you could track the car? From our experience, maybe 4-5 a year, and that is with great amount of dedication and time available to actually go that often.

There is also maintenance cost, fuel cost, travel cost are all something to put into consideration. All of these cost adds up quick, so are you really getting a good return on the experience it provides? We agree the experience is totally awesome in a real car, but can you get enough? At the end you are only able to do 4-5 track days a year at a handful of tracks in a 200HP car.

With a simulator, you would have the best hardware setup for years to come, the ability to race thousands of different cars from F1 Race cars, GT3s, rare hyper cars, to basically anything you could imagine and drive on hundreds of different race tracks locations that you may never have the chance to visit in your lifetime. Not to mention how much time it could save. You could enjoy a track session just before you go to bed and go to work the next morning. Can you imagine the amount of time it will take to travel to Nurburgring in real life just for a lap and back?

We think a track car is something awesome to have. But for the time and money needed, we just don’t think for the cost of a simulator, you could get a whole lot experience with a real track car. When you do have the budget and time to race real cars as a hobby, the cost of a simulator is really just a drop in the bucket.

 

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